HEATHEN IL-KHANS OF PERSIA 181 the Pope in A.D. 1278 despatched a Franciscan Mission to Abaga and also to the Khakan, but it is believed that, although some measure of success rewarded their efforts in Persia, the Mission did not penetrate farther east. The Moslems were undoubtedly enemies both of the Mongols and of Christendom, and, as Hay ton of Armenia and the Georgians were faithful allies to their suzerain, one at least of whose wives was a Christian, there is little doubt that the intercourse was prompted by a genuine desire to secure co-operation against the powers of Islam. The Journey of Marco Polo in Persia, A.D. 1271.—One result, perhaps the only good one, of the Mongol con- quests was that when the descendants of the conquerors, growing more civilized, became anxious to repair the devastation wrought by their terrible ancestors, almost the whole of Asia was opened to the traveller. We have examples in Carpini and Rubruquis of missions reach- ing Karacoram from distant countries in Asia and from Europe, and these missions must in every case have added considerably to mutual knowledge. In their wake followed the merchant-adventurers, greatest of whom was the illustrious Marco Polo,1 justly named " The Father of Geography." It is of special interest to note that the three great geographers of early days, namely, Herodotus who lived in the fifth century B.C., Chang Kien who lived in the second century B.C., and Marco Polo who lived in the thirteenth century of our era, all described Persia, the Highway of the Nations. Apart from any comparisons which may be instituted, the actual value of the informa- tion given is considerable, and in the case of the two European travellers enables us to present a vivid picture of the country. Marco Polo started on his famous journey across Asia to China from Lajazzo on the Gulf of Scanderun and entered Persia at or near Tabriz, where a Venetian colony 1 The classic which deals with this subject is Yule's Travels of Marco Polo, one of the most fascinating works ever written. A third edition has been edited by Cordier, who is an authority on China, but not on Persia. In Ten Thousand Miles, etc., chap, xxiii. is devoted to the travels of Marco Polo in Persia, and in the Journal R.G.S. vol. xxvi. (1905), p. 462, I have discussed the question as to whether he visited Baghdad, as Yule and Cordier believed. My opinion that he did not is supported by Beazley in. his of. cit. vol. iii. p. 49 ff. Marco Polo actually travelled with his father and uncle.